Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Wed Sep 25 2013
Getting your hands on Osaka’s most famous street food, okonomiyaki, has got much easier in London over the past couple of years. But for our money this stalwart (and sister restaurant Abeno by the British Museum) are still the best for the full experience. Pop your bags and coats in the cleverly designed chest seating, then watch as the staff diligently mix the thick pancake-like batter in front of you, before cooking it on table and counter-top grills. It’s then smothered with mayo, tangy worcestershire-style sauce, aonori seaweed and smoked bonito flakes that sway majestically in the heat. The spectacle is always fun to watch. As well as the ample range of okonomiyaki fillings – anything from pork, squid and kimchi to pork, bacon, cheese and salmon – stir-fried noodles (yaki-soba) and noodles wrapped in omelette (om-soba) also make popular choices.
Highlights of a recent visit included perfectly tender chunks of squid in a Tokyo-mix okonomiyaki, plus a cooling summer special of simmered, chilled baby aubergine with dashi and ginger. Just five minutes from the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square, Abeno Too makes the perfect place to refuel on cheap and filling Japanese fare. It’s no wonder the small cluster of tables and counter-side seats are often packed.
Abeno Too 17-18 Great Newport Street
- Venue phone:
020 7379 1160
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Meals served noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun
Tube: Leicester Square
Main courses £9-£25. Set lunch (Mon-Fri) £12-£22
- 17-18 Great Newport Street
- 020 7379 1160
- 17-18 Great Newport Street
- Abeno Too
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:1
Okonomyaki is my favourite Japanes food so I llove this restaurant. ..very central (just aroun th corne from leiLeiceste Square tube station) and full of atmospher. The food is freshly cooked in front of you and served with little spatulas which makes cuttin it into bite dsize mouthfuls easy for any chopstick novic. I lliked the prawn version but my friend had a delicious cheese and spinach on. Although the mayonnaise and sauces are presented as optional, you really do need these to taste the real flavours of the dish, and the bonito flakes are a must too. The plum wine was very welcome too! I recommend the tables in the window as they're more comfortable than the counter seats plus you can watch theccrowds racing past oblivious to this little ge o a pplace.
I love okonomiyaki and was looking forward to eating it in London. As far as I know Abeno and Abeno Too are the only places that serve it. As Osaka is the birthplace of okonomiyaki, I choose the traditional Osaka recipe and was surprised by how expensive it was, but I guess this is Leicester Square. We sat at the bar and, because my legs were dangling off this big wooden storage box we had to sit on I found it extremely uncomfortable. The waitress was friendly and she cooked our food on the hot plate in front of us. I noticed that there was no flour in the mix and the cabbage was really finely chopped, both of which are unusual. The waitress said that they use extra cabbage and radish instead of flour (don't ask me why). She didn't mix it properly at all. Okonomiyaki has to be mixed thoroughly to ensure there's plenty of air in the mix before cooking. The waitress then spooned the mix onto the hot plate very slowly and then started pressing the top of mix. They would never do this in Osaka. The waitress managed to overcook both of our mixes on one side, and because they don't use flour the okonomiyaki just came apart when you tried to eat it. As for the taste I enjoyed it as a new sort of pancake, but in no way was it an authentic experience. I give this restaurant one star for the service, but the food, value and ambience (it's extremely loud in there) are very poor.
After a long days work, my colleagues and I decided to have some Japanese. We headed to Abeno Too at Leicester Square. Abeno Too is a sister restaurant of Abeno. Abeno is famous for their Okonomiyaki. So what’s Okonomiyaki? I would describe is as a sort of Japanese Omelette/Tortilla. Okonomiyaki ‘s main ingredients is egg and cabbage (Is called Negi-yaki if you swap cabbage with spring onions), adding any other ingredient based on what your preference is and this is what Okonomi means- ‘Whatever you like’ and yaki means, cooked , fried or grilled. You can’t really choose every ingredient separately in Abeno, however Abeno serves different types of Okonomiyaki choices to choose from. his time we have decided to have the Pork Okonomiyaki, other must try dishes are the YakiSoba and OmSoba (or more commonly known Omusoba) it’s best to order different types of dishes and share. This way you get taste a little bit of everything. (Well, that’s how I like it! ) So, what are the difference between Omusoba and Okonomiyaki. Omusoba is YakiSoba (a type of Japanese stir fired noodles) served wrapped in omelette. All this dishes are beautiful cooked on the teppan (a metal griddle used in Japanese cooking), which is affixed in the middle of all tables in Abeno. The food is scrumptious (no questions about that), it is light and not too heavy. I was once informed that this sort of restaurant is actually fast food places in Japan. I have never been to Japan, so I can’t really comment on that. However, I can’t wait to go there one day. The food and culture must be amazing. Overall, I love this place. The food is good. No matter how hungry you are or if you just wanting to ‘fill a hole in your tooth’. Abeno is great place to go alone or with friends. It’s definitely a great place to dine and socialise with friends. It’s not too pricey either. It is always a great way to end a busy days at work. What excites me about the place are the atmosphere and the ambience. It’s always busy and I always liked the idea to sit around a teppan and watch your food being cooked in front of you. The one minus point is that, your clothes will actually stink of fat/oil after you leave this place as you are sitting right in front of the griddle. However this is only one small minus point compared to what you are actually getting from Abeno. There are many more different dishes in Abeno which is definitely worth a try (for certain more than once). This has been and is one my favourite Japanese restaurant that I have visited that I will keep on visiting; if they maintain the same standard of quality being served (they have been so far, :) ) So, if you do like Japanese food and if you like trying new cuisines; I highly recommend this place. Have a try and you will not be disappointed.
Interesting experience, but extremely expensive for what it is!! I think paying 10 to 20 pounds for what is essentially an omelette is a joke. Miso soup for 3.50 really!!! This style of food is cheap street food in japan, so its odd that this place is so up market with there prices. I mean cabbage, eggs, noodles and bacon are cheap bog standard ingredients, how classy can you really make it. I was a bit miffed when I ordered the pork okonomiyaki and they gave me bacon. One scoop for the green tea ice cream is a little tight I think, when it costs 3.50. There is this great stall at the sunday up-market on brick lane that sells these for 4 to 5 pounds!!
Yummy pancakes, and it's great that they cook them in front of you, however I found the customer service very disappointing. They also had the wrong prices on their menu in the window, it was more expensive inside!